Thursday, 2 August 2012

Hustlin' through the Old Republic: Update 1.3, up to level 40 and down with the Sith style

You heard it from me last folks, update 1.3 “Allies” is indeed here, bringing with it the much needed “Group finder” to us and I must say from the small amount of time I’ve used it, it’s worked quite well. Also the legacy system with its new character and legacy “perks” that are basically rewards for use with your main or lower characters for having achieved certain milestones, which could be very useful indeed, especially the ones that change levelling xp and speeder access. Apart from that there was the usual small things like class changes, adaptive social gear and some changes to crew skills which bring in the new option to add augment slots to items. Augmentation is basically a sort of different version of the ‘enchanting’ or ‘jewelcrafting’ used in other games you have an augment slot and you can put different augments in the slot in there to better the item. This is similar to modifications though modifications change the base stats of orange modifiable items while augments add to all other items. Though since they just introduced it I don’t have any augments and I never did anyway their apparently obtained through slicing so I’ve never gotten any and never seen them apart from the freakishly expensive high level ones on the trade network.

The Group finder, makes things much easier, especially with a declining population.
Well where was I when we left off?, oh yes quite happily wearing my hood with my headband thingy and then for some reason I could not, and now I can again it looks like except that on my Sith Inquisitor. What I’m babbling about is that you may have heard me mention before that while I was questing on Nar Shadaa I for some reason could no longer wear both my helm and my hood on at the same time this annoyed me cause I liked that look, the other reason is I’d rather have my hood on when wearing those thing as they look pretty silly when you don’t, their some sort of dorky looking headband/tiara thing. But I suppose now I'm wearing some kind of star wars version of shades yes shades or goggles, the game calls them "Rampage Assault Headgear" which makes them sound infinitely cooler than they actually are and absolutely ridiculous for what they actually look like. What's also interesting is when I look them up on ToRHead they actually look completely different, so I'm not sure what's going on there.
Don't mess with the "'Rampage Assault" shades yo
So anyway I was level 31 and was one Tatooine indeed yes, so how do I sum up what’s happened?, well after finishing Tatooine and saving Kira’s master Bela Kiwiik from that big vibrating thingo then heading to Alderaan to do all the quests there and there’s some kind of family wars going on there and I have to save my master whats-his-name from the ridiculous death mark machine seriously whoever came up with that idea needed to think it through more. During Alderaan I found one of the coolest methods of transport ever, in remote places Alderaan has these things called Thranta’s which a big flying Manta-ray like creatures  which look awesome and make cool sounds, Alderaan is definitely one of the best looking planets I’ve seen along with Dromund Kass but I’ll get into that later.

The very Majestic Thranta through a whole new wyurld.

After Alderaan there’s fairly big Jedi Knight plot section which I won’t go into in order not to spoil the story as of course this is apparently the end of act 1 of you storyline (yes there are different acts) but I will say that after what happens now it goes pretty full scale and gets kind of boring, though I suppose there’s going to be more than two acts as the game goes on. The story on Balmorra is reasonable I suppose, the sort of struggling resistance (Balmorrans) resentfully accepting help from a major power (Republic) in order to fight off their oppressors (Empire), but it’s a rather dull mucky toxic waste ridden planet plagued by insect-like aliens.

Balmorra, not exactly the most serene place to visit

After the first act I sort of feel like I’m starting again except I’m higher level and the storyline seems more boring now. The stories on each planet don’t seem to be too engaging but what can you do? It’s something else to occupy yourself with while you’re doing your main quest.

One a better note though I got a new hoverbike, the Gurian Hammer to be precise which looks pretty awesome sort of like riding a jet engine with my cape flowing behind. I was glad I moved away from the Ubrikkian style of hoverbike as I was going to use them for the whole game, though to be honest despite their cost the vehicle don’t really go much faster than each other, the first one at level 20 goes 90% faster than running yes running not sprinting and then it’s 100% then 110% so really not that much of a dramatic change each time.
This isn't me but this guy probably does a better job at explaining it

Probably almost to the end of Balmorra for some reason I decided to create an Empire alt, yes I know I’m only 40 on my Jedi Knight and yes I know I’m making an alt before I even get to 50 on one character but I was eager to try out the Sith side. I went a Sith Inquisitor which is the Sith equivalent of the Jedi Consular, with the advanced class I chose to go Sith Assassin, the shadowy double-bladed-lightsabre wielding ninja style Sith (similar to the Jedi Shadow) as I wanted to be a Jedi Consular Sage and throw around force waves and telekinetic abilities rather than force Lightning as the Sith Sorcerer does. I also picked Sith pureblood as I didn’t really want to make another human and didn’t really fancy any of the other races, plus the Sith purebloods look pretty cool though they have this “punish companion” social ability in which you give your companion a pretty intense smack in the face which is kind of sad if you ask me.

I have been told by reliable sources that this thing on my Sith Inquisitor's head is indeed a "circlet" which is at least more manly then 'tiara'
That explains why I went the Sith Inquisitor class but the other reason I wanted to make a Sith alt was that I wanted to be a “Good” Sith so to speak I wanted to see what it was like when you chose the good options even though you’re technically supposed to be evil aren’t you? I was finding it fun at the start on Korriban picking all the “good” and “Light Side” options that a Sith wouldn’t usually pick and feeling good. Starting out was great, you start facing a gruff traditionalist Overseer who does not hesitate to show their dissatisfaction that you have risen from slavery to achieve entry to the Sith order, pitting you and you fellow hopefuls against each other with one being particularly powerful. The whole storyline was pretty fun and somewhat challenging especially the quest to seek out Khem Val who will be your first companion, he is a huge monstrous Dashade who has reluctantly agreed to serve me since his former master had died long ago.

You lookin at me, puny Sith?
Unfortunately once I had Khem Val with me I noticed that I was going to have to change around my “nicey” responses. I should explain that to gain “affection” (heh) with your companion you can both give them gifts and interact with NPC’s during missions the way they prefer, for example some companions may frown upon killing innocents while other companions may approve as to them you are disposing of the weak and useless. I soon found that Khem Val’s likes and dislikes weren’t exactly in sync with my “friendly and compassionate Sith” character I had going for example he likes making foolish people unhappy, of which I really don’t do I tend to take pity on them and dislikes: Weakness in any form and not killing Force users, so technically most of the responses I would usually take would mean I would lose rapport with him (-1, 15 or even 30  affection for example), so I am forced to be a mean and somewhat cocky bastard most of the time and I’m constantly losing affection points for him because I always choose the light side options, cause I’m a good guy, you know? even if I am Sith. This will change though once I get the next companion Ashara Zavros on Taris who by the looks of her likes/dislikes will be much easier to please, plus she’s a DPS character with strength+endurance as primary stats so should be a-ok to quest with, speaking of which, who doesn’t have endurance listed as their primary stat? seems like every class does. I suppose I'll at least have to try being bad with another character.

He probably does too (note: you can change his skin colour with appearance modifications)
Also I (or I got my companion to rather) started doing the Crafting skill Artifice (Artification, Artificing however you say it) which is the creation of Jedi and Sith artifacts which include things like lightsabre and armor upgrades and new shields, offhand items and colour crystals. It was during this time that I found that you could send mail and resources between the two allegiances. So for example I could use my Republic side characters to aid my Empire alts with items and crafting skills and vice-versa. This was one of the biggest if not the biggest difference from WoW that SWTOR has, it seems now that I no longer have the problem of having one crafting skill but not the other on either side, could you imagine this in WoW? I’d be going crazy organising resources. Though this leads to a different issue which I swear I don’t know what I’m going to do about because without an Altoholic style mod for the game, I might even go crazier trying to work out what each friggin character has , I don’t know it’s just going to be difficult unless Bioware miraculously allow modding and someone makes an Altoholic clone for SWTOR in enough time but I doubt it. I’ve been ok so far recently I had to take screenshots of every piece of armor me and my companion had in order for me to view on my Jedi Knight and make appropriate armor replacements and managed to juggle the resources fine, so it’s works relatively ok for now.

The Artification screen
So anyway I’ve now finished the Imperial home planet of Dromund Kass  and had quite a good time upgrading all my gear using my commendations,it turns out that the stuff is still better then what I make unless I happen to be lucky enough to be able to make a blue item. My main storyline there ended with me obtaining yet another artifact and having a pleasant conversation with a ghost of a Sith Lord who said we were related at some point, I really don’t know what all of that meant but having the artifact meant a lot to my master Darth Zash. She gave me my own starship and instructed me to go to either Balmorra or Nar Shadaa to get more artifacts for this Sith thingemajigg, honestly I don’t really pay much attention to names anymore as there’s areas of the many storylines in SWTOR that are pretty much just “something, something Sith artifact/lord…” I guess I’m just going to do the same thing and do both planets even if I’m too low for them and I end up getting grey quests, I suppose I could skip the bonus serious but I wouldn’t want to do that unless I’d already done it for a planet before.  My first instance of space combat on this character was fine, compared to the first time. I’m getting more comfortable now as I actually worked out that in order to complete the escort missions easily you just shot whatever was shooting the transport ship with no regard for your own safety as you don’t need to cause there’s no-one shooting you.

I like this picture of me looking at the Holocron at the top of the hill on Dromund kass
Inside the Sith Temple on Dromund Kass
Once I got my Inquisitor to level 20 I decided I’d stop there as the next planet I was up to is Balmorra and that was the same one I was currently playing on my Jedi Knight, funnily enough when I stopped my Jedi I’d just done a large group quest in Sobrik, the Imperial HQ of Balmorra. I then found out that it’s the same place where you start out as an Imperial, on a kind of lower level too so in theory there would have been Empire players around. That’s if there were enough players around at all, SWTOR has unfortunately been losing population ever since its release and only with the brilliant initiative by Bioware to allow newcomers to play for free up to level 15 that the servers have come back up to healthy level again though as you can see this hasn’t had the same effect with Asia-Pacific but the servers do remain at a standard level playerbase remains. I do admit I sometimes find it hard to find groups of people to do heroic-level missions with that require 4 people, but usually there is enough people around to help and the new group finder makes doing flashpoints less of a hassle for finding the right classes.

The US server stats have been in a steady decline since the release but have shot back up to record numbers due to the new free to play up to 15 feature.
The Asia/Pacific servers haven't got that particular feature yet but are sill going steady, mainly do to the fact that there is only 3 of them while the US has about 40

I’m now back on my guardian and kicking ass, I need to finish Balmorra and get on to the next part of the story though I’ve got to take the supplies to Kira’s people on Nar Shadaa first, I must admit I’m a bit too friendly towards other players often helping them and not getting my own stuff done, oh well there’s always next time to let them down heh.

I’ve been unable to hold back the urge and have started playing Skyrim again, this time as a Thief so basically I’m immersed again and can’t really stop I’ve got to at least to try and play a bit of SWTOR for the remainder of the pay period as the end of this month heralds a new Minecraft patch.

Till next planet or universe…


 I don't want to be bad, yet